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The end is near

Agriculture.com Staff 02/11/2016 @ 7:06am

One of my favorite quotations comes from the man who was President at the time of my birth, Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."

At Sunrise Acres, the end of the growing season is coming quickly. Our corn fields are starting to turn from vibrant green hues to a dusty green and yellow. The ears have filled out well and the kernels of corn are denting, a sure sign of maturity. With water in short supply this year, it will be nice to have one crop "off the tap."

Our hotter-than-normal temperatures have sped up the maturity of many crops and in turn shortened the irrigation season. Now if the pattern from past years follows through, we will have a normal winter's precipitation. It seems we like to worry about things we have no control over, even a year ahead! When we visit again in September, our corn should be well on its way to being ready to combine.

This week, our third cutting hay was baled and hopefully stacked. I say hopefully due to some mechanical problems our custom hay harvester encountered. This past Wednesday Jeff Trotter of Wilder pulled in to bale and stack our hay. With our proximity to the Snake River, drying can sometimes be slow and Jeff wanted my opinion as to whether the hay was too tough or ready to bale. With a predicted chance of gusty winds, we decided to get it in the bale.

After a short conversation about fuel prices and expensive repairs, Jeff hopped into his stackwagon, picked up a bale or two, and while turning on the end of the field lost all steering control. A quick inspection showed the source of the problem to be a failure in the hydraulic control. I went back to work while Jeff started the repair process. Ah, fond memories of harvests past. Some things about farming full time I do not miss!

After the hay harvest is complete, Carol will water again and hopefully we will get a fourth cutting. With short supplies and high prices, every ton will help.

The new pasture is doing well even with the hot temperatures. Our neighbor Jeff Hanson and his son Matt cut, baled and stacked it for us for a share of the crop. Jeff keeps busy farming and repairing equipment for other farmers as well as helping neighbors like me put up their hay. The grass hay dries faster than alfalfa hay but must be completely dry or it is susceptible to mold.

I really like the aroma of the alfalfa/grass mixture. It reminds me of the smells of feeding hay inside a barn at wintertime. We miss having animals of our own but with the hours and demands of my full time job it’s just not a good idea. When we had cattle it seems like they always knew the worst possible time to make a hole in the fence. Carol has irrigated the pasture back again and it looks great. We may have another cutting if the fall weather cooperates.

Last week was the Owyhee County Fair and Rodeo. Katie took her pig to the show and did a good job following it around the ring. Having slept almost all the time leading up to the show, "Spider-Pig" decided it was a great time to race around the arena. Katie kept her composure and the sale Saturday rewarded her for her efforts. We have great support for our sale each year and this year was no exception. I did my share to contribute to each and every food booth. It's a tough job, but someone has to take care of quality control!

Fair time provides an opportunity to visit with friends and catch up on what their kids and grandkids are up to. Carol has been a 4-H leader for many years and has done a great job guiding her group through their projects. I am sure she will miss fair week when Katie is no longer in 4-H.

At Agri-Lines Irrigation, I have spent a lot of time lately on paperwork. This business is a lot like farming in that there are never enough hours to get every thing done. I would love to be able to spend more time meeting new customers and covering more areas but every job sold requires plenty of documentation. First there are proposals, preliminary designs, estimates, then after the order is taken, shop drawings and installations to monitor.

This is shaping up to be a busy fall as farmers are interested in saving water resources and their own valuable time. The deadline for fall applications for cost assistance is rapidly approaching and I would encourage anyone interested to visit their local Farm Service Agency office to start the process.

It has been a fairly smooth irrigation season thanks to our great service crew and shop. While there are always bumps here and there, I think we have done a good job of keeping everyone irrigating this season.

I hope all of you have had a great summer and are enjoying your corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes. We are very lucky to live in the rich agricultural area of the Treasure Valley. Next time you drive past a farmer, give him a friendly wave to say thanks.

From Sunrise Acres-

Fred, Carol and Katie Butler

One of my favorite quotations comes from the man who was President at the time of my birth, Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."

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